Seattle

SEATTLE-New York City-based Skanska is expanding its infrastructure construction and civil engineering operations to the northwestern US. It was just awarded the assignment for the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle, a contract that amounts to $115 million. The project has committed funding from the state gas tax and federal sources.

The customer is the Washington State Department of Transportation. The project involves the construction of a new 0.8-mile viaduct on the southern section of the Alaskan Way on the State Route 99 bypass in downtown Seattle. The new stretch will be built in parallel with and replace the existing heavily-trafficked road. The new construction is expected to increase capacity and improve the earthquake resistance.

The project will be conducted by Skanska USA Building and Skanska USA Civil, which now have a joint base in Seattle. “It is our strategic intention to also become established within infrastructure construction and civil engineering in this expansive region, where we have a long tradition in building construction. It is highly gratifying that we have now secured our first road contract and I am certain that we will expand in this market,” says Mike McNally, executive vice president of Skanska, in a prepared statement.

Work will begin in summer 2010 and is expected to be completed in 2013. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, Skanska’s bid was 25% below the engineer’s estimate. “In summer 2010, crews will begin roadway and bridge construction to replace the southern mile of the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct between S. Holgate and S. King streets. This seismically vulnerable structure carries thousands of vehicles to and from downtown Seattle, two major stadiums and the Port of Seattle each day,” says the WSDOT. “The seismically vulnerable structure carries thousands of vehicles to and from downtown Seattle, two major stadiums and the Port of Seattle each day,” according to the WSDOT website. “Its increasing age and vulnerability is apparent by crumbling concrete, exposed rebar, weakening column connections and deteriorating railings. To keep drivers safe and the economy moving we will replace the existing bridge with a new side-by-side roadway that will meet current seismic standards.”

The project is part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program that includes components led by WSDOT, King County and the City of Seattle. WSDOT is responsible for replacing this double-deck bridge, which is part of State Route 99. According to the WSDOT website, it is pursuing this program because “it plays a major role in sustaining our economy and maintaining our citizens’ ability to travel to and through Seattle. However, the viaduct, along with the adjacent seawall, is at risk of failure from earthquakes (with unacceptable risk to lives as well as property) and irreversible loss of use from age and deterioration. The structure must be replaced.” The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement projects are estimated to cost $3.1 billion.